Last year, the Federal Government tasked the Productivity Commission to take on an inquiry regarding the use of visa charges and what the effects are on the country’s migrant intake. According to Productivity Commission report, changes are going to help ease the pressures in our economy. If children can cover the cost of their parents’ stay, then they (parents) can stay longer.
As part of the changes that are about to take place to the family reunion visas, it was recommended by the Productivity Commission that migrants who bring their parents to the country should also be the ones to cover their living costs.
It was also found in the report that family reunion visas need to be limited to the parents of the migrants, with the average older age and the shorter time spent in the workforce taking a toll on the health and welfare system, costing them billions of Australian dollars per year.
Under these recommended changes, the temporary visa for the migrants’ parents are going to let them stay in the country for a longer period of time as long as the one who will sponsor them will meet the requirements such as income and health costs for the duration of their stay
It was also stated in the report that the said criteria for the non-contributory parent should be whittled down to cases where ”strong compassionate grounds” are found.
Migration Council Australia: More consultation required
Ms Carla Wilshire, the chief executive of the Migration Council Australia, welcomed the contents of the report. Ms Wilshire says that it is both well balanced and comprehensive.
”I think it makes some excellent points about recalibrating what some of the economic advantages are of migration,” said Ms Wilshire.
However, she had concerns regarding the recommended changes of the commission to the migrant parents visa system. ”I think we need to be careful and do a comprehensive community consultation,” she stated.
”For a lot of migrant families,” Ms Wilshire shared, ”Separation from parents is a particularly difficult part.”
Mr Joseph Caputo, the chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, said that the system which governs the parents’ visas of migrants was already being highly regulated ever since.
”We are disappointed they are recommending tightening up the already very strict regulations in place for bringing parents into the country,” stated Mr Caputo.
He also mentioned the indirect benefits parents bring to their migrant children the moment they arrive into the country.
He said that there are a lot of grandparents who provide much needed childcare for their children who are most of the time not at home because they are working.
”They can also contribute in other ways,” Mr Caputo shared. ”Including helping the family settle in Australia without the worry of an elderly parent alone overseas.”
According to the report, new arrivals do not have any effect on local jobs.
The impact of migration on the nation’s labour market was also highlighted in the Productivity Commission report, concluding that local workers have neither been helped nor were they harmed in any way by immigration from the year 2000 to 2011.
The impact on the youth labour market, according to the report, still remains debatable and unresolved.
And because there is a “ready access to skilled immigrant labour, especially via the Temporary Skilled Work 457 visa program”, it was also founded by the report that it was not a likelihood that employers were to invest in workforce training.
However, the report also found that due to the high rates of immigration, Australia saw an upward pressure on the housing and land prices in most of its largest cities.
“Upward pressures are exacerbated by the persistent failure of successive state, territory and local governments to implement sound urban planning and zoning policies,” it was stated in the report.
A spokeswoman for Mr Peter Dutton, the Minister for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, said that the Federal Government is going to consider all the recommendations included in the report and will give out a response in due time.